IN Memories 604, we told of William Metcalfe who ran a newsagents in Yarm High Street which doubled as the office for the Darlington & Stockton Times. From the headlines on the news bills outside his shop, we were able to date the photograph to May 7, 1908.

The Northern Echo: The Yarm office of the D&S Times

William Metcalfe's shop in Yarm in May 1908


“I have several pieces of Yarm crested china, more than half of which have ‘sole agent W Metcalfe’ stamped on them,” says Tom Stafford.

Crested china was a fashion created largely by the railways which enabled ordinary people to become tourists and travel to coastal resorts or interesting places, like Yarm. They required souvenirs of their stays, and the china with the name of their holiday location proved very popular.

The height of the craze was the years before the First World War.

The Northern Echo: William Metcalfe of Yarm

The pieces come in all sorts of shapes – Tom has one from Metcalfe’s which is in the shape of an armoured car (above), reflecting the militaristic nature of the country with the war looming.

The Northern Echo: William Metcalfe of Yarm

The stamp on the bottom of Tom's Yarm souvenir

Tom has also sent in a postcard of Yarm High Street, dated 1913, with Metcalfe’s shop on the left (below). Unfortunately, it is not quite sharp enough to read the headlines displayed outside the shop.

The Northern Echo: William Metcalfe of Yarm